The last few weeks I’ve been focused on my other channel writing about the credit card industry’s gift to insomniacs, the Data Security Standard 3.0. Someday soon Visa, Mastercard, et. al. may eventually discover how to really protect credit card numbers. Anyway, the employer I blog for–Varonis (Nasdaq: VRNS)–has been very successful with helping companies learn what’s in their “unstructured data”. That’s what the rest of us know as all the stuff in our file systems, including misplaced credit card numbers.
Enterprise level file analysis is not an easy problem to solve if you’re doing it right. Varonis is not the only one with this gig of what is, effectively, crawling corporate file servers–there are a few other large players in this patch. But that hasn’t stopped new companies from joining the game. Recently I came across kazoup, a London-based startup with a neat file analytics product.
Why should companies care about what’s in their file systems?
One large reason is that there’s lots of data that hasn’t been touched in years and could likely be removed or at least archived. It’s the kind of argument that IT people like. The other reason, which I alluded to above, is that there can be sensitive data scattered throughout file servers, often with minimal protections. You’d want the ability to quick search with Google-like speeds for the proverbial large spread sheet with all your customers’ passwords, email addresses, payment information, etc.
Kazoup covers most of these features–data transfer and “enterprise search”– and a few others you’d want in a file analytics product. I tried out their demo, and I’ll say that on the surface they produce slick interactive and drill-downable graphics–think Tableau— that will help IT understand the big and little picture. Their file search feature is built on top of the very popular open-source Elastic Search–a good choice, by the way.
Under the hood, it’s hard to know more about how Kazoup is handling the problem of efficiently crawling and searching file servers. Their marketing is pretty quiet on the subject. NB:There is much to gain in these areas by collecting and organizing the massive amounts of file metadata–file update times, users who accessed the files. It’s the approach that Varonis has taken with its platform.
Kazoup is currently in public beta and a business solution is in the works. Kazoup may make sense for smaller companies. While it is impressive what can be built with an open-source platform, you still need to do a lot more work to scale file analytics to handle terabytes of data and beyond. It’s something that larger enterprises need to keep in mind when shopping around for file analytics software.